Saturday, March 03, 2012

Mexico City Weather, Part 2


Combine the high altitude with a relatively close proximity to the equator, and the result is near-perfect weather year-round.  Being too cold in a house is always more of a factor than being too warm in one.  Houses are made of brick and block, which keeps them cool in summer, but can turn them into refrigerators in the winter.  From December to February, temperatures plummet in the early morning and late evening hours.  Many times we’ve registered temps of between 32°-36°F, or 0°-2° C.  I always get a chuckle when I read emails and Facebook messages from ex-pats experiencing their first winter here.  It can get downright frigid, with it often being colder inside than outside.  Some mornings there is actually frost on my windshield.  Did I mention that nearly every one of those cold winter mornings ends up being a perfect 65°-75°F sunny day through the afternoon?   

Unbelievably, the colder median daily temperatures are not registered during the winter months, but during the rainy, summer months, when precipitation and clouds can keep the day cooler longer.   So, yes, you can bring short sleeved shirts, and, if you really have to, shorts, but you’ll want to make sure that you pack a hooded sweatshirt or a warm sweater in your suitcase as well.  If not, you will almost certainly regret it, unless, of course, you connect in Mexico City and end up on the beach somewhere.  Then, all your ideas about hot, hazy and humid weather will come true.  Sea level sun in Mexico can be scorching.  But on the central plateau, well, there’s just not much you’d want to change.  For some reason, there are very few insects, flies and mosquitoes.  The difference between being in direct sunlight and the shade is marked, as there is very little humidity.  Humidifiers, not dehumidifiers, are needed at times to alleviate frequent nose-bleeds from extra-dry air conditions.

Snow is every adult and child’s dream here.  Just a little bit of snow!  We need to be satisfied, however, with the occasional rain storm during the winter months that coats some of the higher mountains around Mexico City with white stuff, provoking a pilgrimage by car to the snowline near El Ajusco, a mountain in southern Mexico City.  Most times, though, the only white that covers the ground comes in the form of hail, usually in the summer months of June and July, but also every now and again during a freak storm during the winter.  I have seen storms so several that streets become flooded in 15 minutes, with water in the low-lying areas quickly reaching depths of 2-4 ft.  Although Mexico City and the outlying densely urbanized State of Mexico have definitely improved drainage and sewer infrastructure in the last twenty years, invariably flooding occurs in even major avenues around the metro area, and often times the rain water is mixed with aguas negras, or raw sewer water. 

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